Friday, December 03, 2004

Groningen Protocol

This is something that most of you probably haven't seen covered anywhere else (especially in the MSM). The Groningen Protocol is a independent board of review put in place by the government of Holland to "review cases for terminally ill people 'with no free will'" to determine their quality of life so that they may be killed. Now of course those of us with some compassion can obviously understand the position of loved one's allowing their mother, father, son, etc. to be taken off of life support or the availability of a person ahead of time to decide whether or not to sign a DNR form. But this is very different (via Hugh Hewitt).

"Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.

The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.

"It is for very sad cases," said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. "After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year [for now, sure]."

A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors."

That is scary. I'm pro-abortion (regulated to first trimester, no partial birth abortions), but this takes abortion to a whole new level. This new protocol covers any child up to age 12? So some government assigned panel out there can decide to end the life of a 12 year old kid, if they think he doesn't have the free will to determine his own life's value or quality? And the parents are only involved in a limited fashion in the decision? Since when can a government decide who deserves to live or die?

And you've got to love the vague qualifier "suffering unbearably" and "terminal condition." So what exactly does does that encompass? Deformations (spinal deformity, missing limbs, paralysis)? Mental retardation? What about cystic fibrosis or multiple sclerosis? Those are painful and in many cases lethal. Can we kill them? This is some sort of genetic discrimination. People who don't "meet certain criteria" aren't allowed to live. This could only come from a country with socialized medical care where the government foots the bill and doesn't want to pay for excessive doctors fees for those who shouldn't be living anyway, according to their panel.
Keep and eye on Hugh and Carol Liebau for more info.

UPDATE 1: Here are some other great blogs discussing the Groningen Protocol:

Dr. John Mark Reynolds: Holland is just another sign of the end of this kindly regime, dimly remembered from my childhood. Modern liberalism, secularism really, now is defined by who it can kill. Kill the unborn. Kill the weak and sickly child. Make society such that no one desires or can afford enough children to replace the population. Create a culture so libertine that children are scarred by the violence and ugliness that pervades their lives. There is nothing good about liberalism anymore. Modern liberalism is ineffectual and hateful. The party of Bryan, Scoop Jackson, and Zel Miller has become the party of abortionists and people who value snail darters over loggers.

De tout et de riens: "Applying euthanasia to children is another step down the slope in this debate," said Henk Jochemsen, the director of Holland's Lindeboom Institute, which studies medical ethics. "Not everybody agrees, obviously, but when we broaden the application from those who actively and repeatedly seek to end their lives to those for whom someone else determines death is a better option, we are treading in dangerous territory."
ou quand la décision de l'euthanasie est prise par d'autres que les personnes concernées [my translation: or when the decision to euthenize is made by others than the people concerned.]

Tan Horizons: It is fortunate that Stephen Hawking is English... "As things are, people are doing this secretly and that's wrong," said Eduard Verhagen, head of Groningen's children's clinic. "In the Netherlands we want to expose everything, to let everything be subjected to vetting." Vetting? "Can we kill this baby?""Mmm...No.""Too late."

Sidespot: What we are talking about, though, is the next step after consensual, doctor-assisted suicide. Namely, the non-consensual termination of life. More bluntly, they are killing these babies. They are killing babies for noble (in their minds) reasons, but they are killing babies nonetheless.

Brain Shavings: Now imagine that the decision whether or not to kill your daughter will be made by strangers. These government sanctioned strangers are bureaucrats, and no matter how high-minded their intentions may be in the beginning, we all know what eventually happens to bureaucracies. Bureaucrats strive to protect and expand their turf and their influence. They reduce everything to cold calculations about supplies and budgets and expenses. The interests of the people they're supposedly serving disappear in the haze, and the high-ranking bureaucrats make sweeping policy decisions that they never have to implement themselves. Eventually, they see themselves as entitled to the power they wield, and woe to the lowly citizen who disagrees.

Froggy Ruminations: Here is what happens when a fully matured version of Hillarycare is allowed to evolve ensuring that the government is responsible to pay for everyone's treatment. When the government controls medicine, treatment priorities emerge, funding shortages arrive, and rationing is inevitable. Traditional rationing as experienced in Canada or the UK are bad enough; look at the collective dental condition of the British. Atrocious. But when rationing is mixed with secular humanism and liberal eugenic ideals, involuntary euthanasia of infants will eventually come into the picture. Government policy in all of its manifestations is a game of incentives, and people will adjust their behaviors good or bad in accordance with the policy landscape in which they live. That is what makes slippery slopes so slick.

Interested-Participant: Fourth trimester abortion is my term for what is generally called the Groningen Protocol... encompassing the systematic mercy killing of newborns.

UPDATE 3: Patterico links the latest from Hugh and Captain's Quarters.

UPDATE 4: Got Design (along with a kick ass new design, two thumbs way up!!) has two great posts on the Groningen Protocol here and here coming from slightly more religious perspective than my own. Both deserve to be checked out.